If you want a true insight into an emerging current affairs story, you talk to someone who’s been there, on the ground. Which is why when it came to in-depth analysis of this year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, we turned to 2007 King of the Jungle Christopher Biggins.
“I loved every moment, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Biggins told us, “but I’d never do it again. It is so tough and the biggest thing is the boredom – it is so boring. You only see one hour of our 24 hours in there – it’s a nightmare.”
So now you know why there’s no live feed from the camp… “What you see on television is what you get,” said Biggins. “There’s no taking us away to luxury hotels, there’s no giving us extra food on the sly.”
And that lack of food is one of the most testing parts of the jungle ordeal: “When you’re not eating – and of course [this year’s campers] weren’t eating for about six days – you go bananas, that’s the only way to describe it. It is terrifying.”
But that was then. These days, Biggins very sensibly joins the rest of us in enjoying the show from the comfort of his living room. So what does he think of this year’s contestants – and who’s going to win?
It seems likely Biggins’s Christmas card list will feature TV cook Rosemary Shrager: “I loved her, I thought she was marvellous. She was like mother Christmas in there, she was divine.”
But he was less kind about Rosemary’s arch enemy, Made in Chelsea star Hugo Taylor – “I can’t bear Hugo, I find him very annoying” – and he lost patience with Crafty Cockney Eric Bristow too: “I used to love Eric but he got on my nerves – he’s a bit cocky.”
And how about Helen Flanagan? Were her feeble attempts at the Bushtucker Trials, and subsequent turnaround, all part of a grand plan?
“Sadly, I don’t think Helen has a game plan to help herself in anything. I don’t think she’s clever enough to have a game plan.” Ok, but did you like her? “If I’d been in there with her I’d have killed her and buried her in the jungle.” We’ll take that as a “no” then…
So who does Biggins want to see wearing the crown that once adorned his head? “I’d like [Pussycat Doll] Ashley [Roberts] to win. She’s great fun, she’s very funny and she has a go at everything. I would have loved to have been in the jungle with her.”
But Biggins admits boxer David Haye could give Ashley a good fight to the finish.
“I think the last two will be Ashley and David. I think he’s been very good – I think he’s absolutely a winner. If you’re an athlete, a boxer, I think you’re out there to win and I think he’s certainly out there to win this. I think that David really, really wants to win it – but I would like Ashley to win.”
Christopher Biggins is supporting Mr Kipling this Christmas, by giving commuters free cake at branded dispenser sites nationwide. Use #freecake to join the conversation on Twitter or visit www.facebook.com/mrskipling for more information